Freshman House Democrats, buoyed by the new majority their victories ushered in, raked in campaign money at an almost frantic pace in the first three months of the off-election year, showed fundraising tallies for the most vulnerable among them.
According to a tabulation by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the 29 Members of the DCCC’s “Frontline” program — which directs funds to the party’s most endangered incumbents — raised an average of $291,000 in the first three months of 2007. That reflects more than a $100,000 jump from the average the Frontline members raised in the first quarter of 2005.
There also are almost three times as many Members in the program this cycle, due to the Democratic victories in last year’s midterm elections that netted the party 30 seats and control of the House.
Reps. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Ron Klein (Fla.) were the standouts among Democratic freshmen and the Frontline group. Gillibrand, who defeated Rep. John Sweeney (R) last year, took in $690,000 in the first three months of the year.
Klein, who knocked off Rep. Clay Shaw (R), raked in $610,000 in the period and will show $525,000 in cash on hand.
It remains to be seen if Klein will have a difficult re-election in the South Florida 22nd district, which favors Democrats, especially in a presidential election year. But he said in a statement he isn’t willing to gamble.
“I am not taking anything for granted and I will not be outworked on the campaign trail,” Klein said.
Two other Frontline Democrats raised more than $400,000 in the period: Reps. Melissa Bean (Ill.) and Tim Mahoney (Fla.).
Bean is in her second term and it is unclear whether Republicans will be able to recruit a top-flight challenger to run against her. She raised $475,000 in the quarter, with $285,000 of that coming from political action committees.
Mahoney, a freshman, is all but certain to have a tough re-election contest after barely winning the seat formerly represented by disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.).
The bulk of the Frontline members raised from $200,000 to $400,000 in the quarter, with freshman Reps. John Hall (N.Y.), Christopher Murphy (Conn.) and Jerry McNerney (Calif.) turning in some of the best performances. All three defeated veteran Republican lawmakers last fall.
Of the vulnerable Democrats, Rep. Jim Marshall (Ga.) raised the least in the quarter, taking in $130,000.
Marshall won re-election by fewer than 2,000 votes and will be another top target for the GOP this cycle. First elected in 2002, he is one of the few non-freshmen on the DCCC’s Frontline list.
Of the 29 Frontliners, only four Members raised less than $200,000 in the quarter. Aside from Marshall, they were freshman Reps. Tim Walz (Minn.), Steve Kagen (Wis.) and Michael Arcuri (N.Y.).
Freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda (Kan.), who declined inclusion in the Frontline program but also is a top Republican target, raised $152,000 in the quarter. That total included $42,000 from other Members or PACs, including $4,000 total from the campaign committees of Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.).
Meanwhile, Republican fundraising numbers also were trickling in at the end of last week but of potentially vulnerable GOP Members, Rep. Mark Kirk (Ill.) appeared to lead the pack.